Helen Hunt - Biography & Career
Hunt was born in Culver City, California to Gordon Hunt, a film director and acting coach, and Jane Elizabeth Novis, a photographer. Her maternal grandmother, Dorothy Fries (born Dorothy Anderson) was a voice coach. Hunt is of Methodist and Jewish background.
Hunt showed an interest in acting as a child and began her career in the 1970s as a child actress. Her early roles included an appearance as Murray Slaughter's daughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and a regular role in the television series Swiss Family Robinson. She appeared as a marijuana smoking classmate on an episode of The Facts of Life. She also memorably appeared as a young woman who, while on PCP, jumps out of a second story window in a 1982 after school special called Desperate Lives. In the mid-1980s, she had a recurring role on St. Elsewhere as Clancy Williams, girlfriend of Dr. Jack "Boomer" Morrison.
In the 1990s, Hunt became well-known to television audiences as co-star of sitcom Mad About You with screen partner Paul Reiser, winning Emmy Awards for her performance in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999. By the end of the show in 1999, Hunt was the highest paid TV actress in history, earning $1 million per episode.
Hunt has also had a successful film career and has been in Hollywood movies such as Cast Away and the 1996 blockbuster Twister. After winning an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1998 for her performance in As Good as It Gets, she took time off from movie work to play Viola in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at the Lincoln Center in New York City.
In 2000, Hunt returned to the screen in four films: Dr. T & the Women with Richard Gere, Pay It Forward with Kevin Spacey & Haley Joel Osment, What Women Want with Mel Gibson, and Cast Away with Tom Hanks. In 2003, she returned to Broadway in Yasmina Reza's Life x 3. She currently owns a production company with Connie Tavel, Hunt/Tavel Productions under Sony.
In 2006, Hunt will appear in the film Bobby, which is scheduled for a November 22 release. She is also scheduled to start filming Then She Found Me, with Bette Midler, Colin Firth and Matthew Broderick, which she will direct as well as star.
Hunt holds many awards records. She is the only actress to win a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award and an Emmy Award in the same year (1998), the only actress to win four consecutive Emmys, and the only actress to win four Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.
Hunt was married to actor Hank Azaria from 1999 until 2000. She has been in a relationship with Matthew Carnahan since 2001 and they have a daughter, Makena'lei Gordon Carnahan, born in 2004.